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Old 09-25-07, 05:30 PM   #1
JoeyMac
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Golden Sports Zebra Kenko?

Yeah, I never heard of one either. But I saw this at a yard sale on the side of the road while I was back in my hometown this weekend and had to stop and check it out. Although it's obviously from the 70s, it looked hardly used, and the tires were in great condition. The guy put air in the tires and I took it around the block and everything worked! He only wanted $10 for it, and he threw in a Specialized Body Geometry saddle for an extra dollar! I am a sucker for a cheap working bike. I need to lube this up as it has been sitting in a basement for a number of years, and I plan to take off the rack and put it on my main commuter, and also ditch the kickstand and reflectors, to try and lighten it up (it's not a very light frame). But what do you think? I think I just paid $10 for a decent sporty little Japanese number with which to whip around the neighborhood.


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Old 09-25-07, 05:48 PM   #2
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Zebrakenko (all one word) was a Japanese bicycle company formed in 1901. They started importing to the US around 1974. That is definitely the mid-1970's headbadge ( one of the nicest) and from what I can see of the decals, they match the era too. At the time, they had a range of about 9 nine models. Yours is one of the entry level models, maybe a Thunder. A drive side pic where the derailleurs and crankset are clearly visible would aid in identifying the model.

It's a nice, clean expample of a Japanese, boom era, entry level model and a very good purchase for $10.
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Old 09-25-07, 05:56 PM   #3
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Yours is one of the entry level models, maybe a Thunder. A drive side pic where the derailleurs and crankset are clearly visible would aid in identifying the model.
It says "Storm" Those are cool model names, "Storm," "Thunder,"

was there also a model called "Lightning?"
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Old 09-25-07, 06:12 PM   #4
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It says "Storm" Those are cool model names, "Storm," "Thunder,"

was there also a model called "Lightning?"
I do recall a Lightning. There was also a Wind, which was very popular.
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Old 09-25-07, 07:17 PM   #5
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Thanks for the info T-mar!
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Old 09-25-07, 07:45 PM   #6
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Zebrakenko (all one word) was a Japanese bicycle company formed in 1901. They started importing to the US around 1974. That is definitely the mid-1970's headbadge ( one of the nicest) and from what I can see of the decals, they match the era too. At the time, they had a range of about 9 nine models. Yours is one of the entry level models, maybe a Thunder. A drive side pic where the derailleurs and crankset are clearly visible would aid in identifying the model.

It's a nice, clean expample of a Japanese, boom era, entry level model and a very good purchase for $10.
They may have imported about 9 models to the US, but back in the '70s we had their Japanese catalog in the shop and were amazed at the wide variety of bikes, especially variations on the over-accessorized (fenders, lights, baskets, bells, racks, etc....) but probably practical models for town use. Some high end sport bikes were also in the range (probably Shimano Crane or SunTour Cyclone spec.). Wonder what eventually happened to some of these companies?
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Old 09-26-07, 05:30 AM   #7
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They may have imported about 9 models to the US, but back in the '70s we had their Japanese catalog in the shop and were amazed at the wide variety of bikes, especially variations on the over-accessorized (fenders, lights, baskets, bells, racks, etc....) but probably practical models for town use. Some high end sport bikes were also in the range (probably Shimano Crane or SunTour Cyclone spec.). Wonder what eventually happened to some of these companies?
There was Dura-Ace model, though I forget the name. They also had a track bicycle with Dura Ace 10, but I never saw one in person. Most of the Japanese companies started disapperaring after 1985, when the yen re-evaluation drove up their prices in the US. Some tried to delay things by subcontracting to Taiwan, but most ended up pulling out of the US market in the late 1980s or early 1990s. Many still service in Japan.

In the case of Zebrakenko, they disappeared in 1985, but in 1986 a brand called Zebra emerged. Is this just a co-incidence or did they just make the name more Americanize/consumer friendly? I've been unable to find a definitive answer.
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Old 05-10-08, 01:45 PM   #8
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I'm firing up the Wayback Machine.

I saw a Storm at my LBS today. Not a bad looking bike. Gray metalflake paint, mid-level Suntour components with stem shifters, and centerpull brakes with safety levers. The LBS had cleaned and lubed it and put new tubes, tires, brake pads, and bar tape on it.

It was too big for me, maybe a 33" or 34" stand over.

The head badge was missing. Now I know why.
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Old 05-10-08, 02:34 PM   #9
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Here's a head badge shot of my recently acquired Zebrakenko. It has about 12 layers of paint, but in pulling the fork, it seems the original was a kind of pale blue. I bought it largely for the components, but the frameset will make for a nice winter beater.

Neal

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Old 05-12-08, 11:07 PM   #10
JoeyMac
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my Zebrakenko is still going strong, I must have put hundreds of miles on it since I got it last fall. I've named it Kaminari, or "Storm of the Gods" with the help of a friend in Japan. It's my fastest ride, 9 minutes door-to-door to work. I love it.

Here's a more recent pic:

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